Thinking about the Weather

In 1994, Paul Auster gave Sophie Calle a six page guide entitled: The Gotham Handbook – Personal Instructions for S.C. On How to Improve Life in New York City (Because she asked ….)  Calle followed these instructions every day for a week.   She documented what she did and what happened and made an exhibit of it.

In 2013, I was in Hamburg, Germany and saw an exhibit of this project at the Hamburger Kunsthalle.  Auster’s Handbook is a beautiful and very humane piece of writing with four short suggestions:

  • Smiling
  • Talking to Strangers
  • Beggars and Homeless People
  • Cultivating a Spot

The part on Talking to Strangers has weighed on my mind for months now, to the point where I considered returning to Hamburg to see the piece again and copy down the exact text of the Handbook.  Fortunately, Sophie Calle published this project in a book called Sophie Calle: Double Game.  The Handbook is the closing section of the book.

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